Mineral industries regulations

The Mineral Resources (Sustainable Development) (Mineral Industries) Regulations 2019 commenced on 1 July 2019. These have replaced the previous regulations, which sunsetted on 30 June 2019.

The regulations deliver a number of improvements to streamline and modernise the regulations, and set clearer work plan and rehabilitation plan requirements to better manage risks associated with mining and minerals exploration. The regulations have been shaped by public input provided through the Regulatory Impact Statement process. Improvements have been made in six key areas:

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From 1 July 2019, minerals exploration, mining, prospecting and retention licence applications will be completed using new forms with changes to the information required.

What are the changes?

The information required in a licence application is now set out in the regulations, instead of the schedules to the regulations.

The information required in all licence applications is set out in regulation 13. Additional information requirements for particular licence types are set out in regulations 14 to 17.

Information requirements for licence applications

Licence type Relevant regulations
Exploration Regulations 13 and 14
Mining Regulations 13 and 15
Prospecting Regulations 13 and 16
Retention Regulations 13 and 17

Licence application fees are not changing. Application fees are now set out in regulation 19.

Fees for licence applications

Licence type Fee units*
Exploration 145.8
Mining 262.3
Prospecting 50
Retention 145.8

Licence applications which include a mineralisation report or require native title assessment attract additional fees. The mineralisation report fee is now in regulation 20 and the native title assessment fee is now in regulation 21.

Additional fees for licence applications

Fee type Fee units*
Mineralisation report 66
Native title assessment 73.5

Miner’s Rights and Tourist Fossicking Authorities have been moved to Part 4 of the regulations. Application requirements are set out in regulations 58 and 59 respectively.

These changes are being implemented under the Mineral Resources (Sustainable Development) (Mineral Industries) Regulations 2019.

Who do the changes impact?

Licence applications submitted prior to 1 July 2019 are not impacted.

Licence applications submitted on or after 1 July 2019 are required to use the updated application forms.

What do I have to do differently?

Updated licence application forms are available on the Resource Rights Allocation and Management system (RRAM) and this website. Applicants are required to use these forms from 1 July 2019.

When do the changes take place?

The changes came into effect on 1 July 2019.

* From 1 July 2019, a fee unit is $14.81.

Download the Licence applications - Mineral industries regulations 2019 fact sheet (PDF - 210.3 KB)

The new mineral industries regulations provide for a more flexible approach to advertising of licence applications.

What are the changes?

There will be two options for licensees to fulfil their advertising requirements

Applicants will be able to advertise by:

  1. Advertisements placed in local and a statewide newspaper, as per the previous regulations; or
  2. An alternative method that provides a suitable way to communicate with local landholders and communities.

These changes are being implemented under the Mineral Resources (Sustainable Development) (Mineral Industries) Regulations 2019.

New advertising guidelines

Guidelines will be drafted in consultation with industry and other relevant stakeholders in the coming months. They will contain a list of alternative communication options.

The aim of this approach is to provide stakeholders with the same level of information, while ensuring greater flexibility for licence applicants.

It is expected that this change will result in communications reaching a broader audience and deliver cost savings to licensees.

Who do the changes impact?

Applicants for exploration, retention, prospecting and mining licences.

What do I have to do differently?

Licensees can utilise the same method of advertising as they have in the past. However, with the release of the guidelines, licensees will have the choice of using other methods of advertising.

When do the changes take place?

The release of the advertising guidelines will specify when the alternative method can be used. The guidelines are currently under development.

Download the Advertising - Mineral industries regulations 2019 fact sheet (PDF - 1004.7 KB)

From 1 July 2019, improvements to the risk management component of work plans were implemented.

What are the changes?

The regulations set out the information to be included in work plans, including the risk management plan. As part of the ongoing program to improve regulatory practice, there were changes to clarify the requirements for the identification, assessment and management of risks in the new regulations.

The risk management plan templates in the work plan guidelines for exploration and mining licences have been updated to reflect the changed requirements in the new regulations.

These changes are being implemented under the Mineral Resources (Sustainable Development) (Mineral Industries) Regulations 2019.

What do I have to do differently?

The changes relating to the risk management component of work plans include:

  • Clarifying that the risk management plan must include performance standards;
  • Adding requirements related to sensitive receptors to include an explanation of how a hazard may harm or damage a sensitive receptor including evidence to support the assessment; and
  • Adding a requirement to outline roles and responsibilities of personnel accountable for the implementation, management and review of the risk management plan (this replaces the previous requirement to specify arrangements for reporting on performance against all the specified objectives, standards and acceptance criteria).

When do the changes take place?

The changes apply to new work plans or work plan variations lodged on or after 1 July 2019.

Changes to the requirements for rehabilitation plans will also apply from 1 July 2020.

Further information is available in the Rehabilitation Plan Requirements fact sheet (PDF - 1.0 MB) .

Download the Work plan requirements - Mineral industries regulations 2019 fact sheet (PDF - 1.2 MB)

From 1 July 2020, changes to the rehabilitation plan component of work plans will be implemented.

What are the changes?

The new regulations establish a clearer process for the approval of rehabilitation plans and the assessment of rehabilitation against rehabilitation outcomes and criteria. This will support licensees to adequately plan for, undertake, and achieve rehabilitation to a land form that is safe, stable and sustainable.

The new rehabilitation requirements will be supported by guidelines. The guidelines will provide industry with advice on what to include in a rehabilitation plan. The guidelines will be developed in consultation with industry and stakeholders in the coming months.

These changes are being implemented under the Mineral Resources (Sustainable Development) (Mineral Industries) Regulations 2019.

Who do the changes impact?

The changes apply to anyone lodging a new work plan or work plan variation for mining works on or after 1 July 2020.

The rehabilitation plan requirements from the previous regulations will continue to apply until 30 June 2020.

What do I have to do differently?

The changes will require rehabilitation plans to:

  • identify a post-mining land use and include a rehabilitation plan that achieves a safe, stable and sustainable final land form, to support that future use (a definition of safe, stable and sustainable is included in the regulations);
  • include objectives for each distinct rehabilitation domain within the mine site;
  • include completion criteria i.e. standards that will be used to measure whether rehabilitation is complete;
  • include progressive rehabilitation milestones that set out a series of rehabilitation steps in the course of doing work under the licence (this supports the requirement in the Act for rehabilitation to occur “in the course of doing work” to reduce rehabilitation liabilities during the operation of the mine); and
  • include post-closure planning to identify and plan for the long-term management of risks associated with any rehabilitated land form that is not self-sustaining.

When will the changes take place?

A 12-month transition period is being provided before application of the new requirements for rehabilitation plans.

What is not affected?

There is no material change to the rehabilitation information required in respect of exploration work.

Information required in item 4 of schedule 13 of the 2018 regulations is now provided for in regulation 41(b).

Download the Rehabilitation plan requirements - Mineral industries regulations 2019 fact sheet (PDF - 1.0 MB)

From 1 July 2019, changes to the mining infringements regime apply. These changes are aimed at furthering public confidence and supporting operators who do the right thing.

What are the changes?

New infringement offences under the Act and under the regulations have been prescribed under the Mineral Resources (Sustainable Development) (Mineral Industries) Regulations 2019.

As a result, compliance officers are now able to issue infringement notices for some offences which previously required full criminal prosecutions.

The new infringement offences are outlined in the table below.

New infringement offence Section
of the Act
Disposing of tailings without consent (mining licence) 14(2A)
Disposing of tailings without consent (prospecting licence) 14BA
Failure to show authority when entering land 26AT
Failure to comply with lawful requirement of an inspector 95R(2)(a)
Non-compliance with a s110 notice 110(3)
Failure to comply with notice issued under s113A(2) 113A(3)
Failure to supply prescribed information relating to work done under a licence 116(1)
New infringement offence Section
of the Regulations
Failure to comply with requirements in the regulations for reporting reportable events 51(3)
Failure to comply with request of the Chief Inspector relating to reportable events 51(4)

Who do the changes impact?

The changes provide compliance officers with a new range of enforcement options. The changes will impact licensees who fail to comply with the Mineral Resources (Sustainable Development) Act 1990 or the Mineral Resources (Sustainable Development) (Mineral Industries) Regulations 2019.

When do the changes take place?

The changes came into effect on 1 July 2019.

Download the Infringements - Mineral industries regulations 2019 fact sheet (PDF - 722.3 KB)

Annual reporting requirements for reporting dates in the year commencing 1 July 2019 and subsequent years are changing for exploration, retention, mining and prospecting licence holders.

What are the changes?

For reports and returns for periods ending after 30 June 2019 there are minor changes to annual reporting requirements, including:

  • Reporting requirements will be set out in the regulations, not the schedules to the regulations.
  • Exploration and retention licensees must include additional items in expenditure returns.
  • Mining licensees must provide the most recent mineral resource and ore reserve estimate for the licence area.
  • For annual returns for periods ending after 1 July 2020 that relate to mining or prospecting licences with an approved work plan lodged or varied after 1 July 2020, reporting will be required against rehabilitation milestones set out in the work plan.

The table below outlines the location of reporting requirements for each licence type.

Information requirements for reporting

Report type Relevant regulations
Expenditure and activities – Exploration and Retention Regulations 54 and 55
Expenditure and activities – Mining and Prospecting Regulations 54 and 56
Technical report on exploration activity Regulation 57

In annual returns for periods ending after 30 June 2019, exploration and retention licence holders must include the following new items as expenditure:

  • Wages and salaries
  • Equipment, plant or machinery
  • Administration and consumables.

These changes are being implemented under the Mineral Resources (Sustainable Development) (Mineral Industries) Regulations 2019.

Who do the changes impact?

All licence holders (including exploration, retention, mining and prospecting) that are required to submit annual returns and/or technical reports.

What do I have to do differently?

Reports and returns with a period ending prior to 1 July 2019 are not impacted.

For reports with a period ending after 30 June 2019, updated templates for reporting will be available on the Resource Rights Allocation and Management system (RRAM) and our website.

Download the Reporting requirements - Mineral industries regulations 2019 fact sheet (PDF - 221.1 KB)

Earth Resources would like to acknowledge and thank stakeholders who have taken the time to provide feedback.

Page last updated: 29 Oct 2019